Best PracticesDealership Communication Tools

Call Tracking at your Dealership: It Goes Both Ways

image of Bell Telephone

On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell spoke one of the more historical quotes: “”Mr. Watson, you to need to come over here, I want to see you. We have the silver 1876 Honda Accord in stock and I’d love to show you in person. When can you stop by?”

Wait, that’s not right! So maybe Mr. Bell didn’t try to sell Watson a car over the phone in 1876, maybe he simply invented one of the most important technological devices in human history: the telephone. The evolution of the phone is fascinating and something we can all relate to. Likewise, outbound call tracking technology has evolved over time too.

That’s right, I said outbound call tracking. It’s no secret that tracking inbound calls is a key piece to advertising and operations efforts, but for some, outbound really is the ticket to success. It started years ago with an idea to blindly call prospects and see if they were still in market, set appointments, and confirm appointments. Then the “black box” moved in which added a little clarity by allowing managers to see how many calls sales reps were making and when.

The next step is here: Outbound calling that tracks, records, categorizes, and integrates to CRM adding a layer of transparency in your sales efforts never known before.

The Hawthorne Effect….Revisited

First, let’s not forget about the Hawthorne Effect which says that “What gets measured, gets improved.” Listening to your team’s phone calls and coaching their efforts will improve phone performance. It’s simple: Measuring and monitoring improves performance. It’s the guy at the gym who pushes himself a little harder when a beautiful blonde walks by (Not me I swear…) or the basketball player who stops goofing around at practice when coach walks in the gym.

This has long been understood and utilized on the inbound side but it’s equally important and valuable on outbound calls. Listening to the calls your sales team makes will improve their performance. Why? Because what gets measured, gets improved. Are they asking for an appointment? Discussing models other than what’s been requested? Offering directions? Simply being courteous and friendly? Track outbound calls, listen to them, and find valuable coaching opportunities on both good and bad efforts. Don’t be afraid to push a little harder to impress the beautiful blonde!

Changing the Metric

Let’s say Salesman Sam is required to make 20 outbound calls per day before he can check out and go home. The problem? What do those 20 calls even mean? Did he reach a prospect? Was there actually a live conversation?

This mystery was solved by our outbound call review and categorization feature, Humantic. The data is pretty depressing. In fact, when we started, less than 15% of outbound calls actually reached the intended person for conversation. Salesman Sam’s 20 phone calls a day doesn’t seem so hot knowing he only talked with 2 or 3 people.

A dealership in North Carolina took note and the GM declared “That’s not good enough!” He changed the metric needed for Sam to check out. The GM used the Humanatic outbound call categorization feature to identify all outbound calls as either Live Conversation, Left a Message, or No Conversation. Now Salesman Sam could make as few or as many calls as needed, but he must have 8 live conversations per day. The results were pretty incredible: his success rate more than doubled over a month. Sam realized logging calls wasn’t good enough. He got smart about paying attention when to call and how to reach the right person. The GM didn’t hire another body, expect long hours, or demand hundreds more phone calls. Instead, he got his entire team to double their live conversations by simply paying more attention to when they called. All he did was change the metric! Beautiful!

You already know outbound calling is important to your dealership’s sales and accountability efforts but is a blindfold slowing you down? Outbound call tracking provides clarity, improves your business operations, and ultimately, you may just get the beautiful blonde!

Are you tracking your outbound calls?

If so, are you using it to track the performance of your sales and or BDC personnel?

Mike Haeg is an industry guru in the call analytics and technology sector. He has a deep passion for helping dealers measure their marketing ROI and i...
  • J
  • June 29, 2012
Great article as always Mike!Here are some key things to consider when making outbound calls.
1. The quality of phone numbers is the key to success.  When people are in your store make sure to ask for the work phone number.  Cell 2nd and home last.  Managers, when salespeople work a deal, verify they have more than one phone number.  Hold them accountable for more than one.
2. Make more than one dial per customer per day.  They might just be busy when you call them the first time.
3. If you don't have success making an in person appointment, schedule a phone appointment for another day.
  • D
  • June 29, 2012
Great article Mike. Many dealers miss out on incoming call tracking and even more miss out on tracking the performance of their outbound calls.
I'm often asked "How do you pay your BDC personell?" - well, here you go. I recommend tying a larger portion of pay to outbound calls made. Having the ability to not only track an outbound call but also now know if the call was a quality call - that's a HUGE win that VERY BDC should have incorporated into their process and pay. 
  • M
  • July 25, 2012
@dealerrefresh or just hire me I'm the best!!